The Juvenile Court is responsible for conducting court proceedings regarding minors under the age of 18. One of the Juvenile Court's roles is to protect the minor and to protect the community. Juvenile Court cases are heard at special or separate sessions at the court. In an effort to offer a greater opportunity for juvenile rehabilitation, and to protect the privacy of children who are or may become dependents of the court, many proceedings are not open to the public.
There are two primary categories of cases heard at Juvenile Court:
- Delinquency cases - in which a child is charged with an offense
- Dependency cases - which involve allegations of child abuse and neglect
The Juvenile Court also handles:
Juvenile Court matters are confidential and are not open to the public. Because of the confidentiality of Juvenile Court records, specific case information may not be disclosed over the phone. (See Court Records link for additional information on viewing and copying records.)
Other agencies involved with the Juvenile Court system include:
- Probation Department
- Health and Human Services Agency
- District Attorney's Office
- Public Defender's Office
- Alternate Public Defender's Office
- County Counsel
- Voices for Children
- Juvenile Justice Commission
- Law enforcement agencies
- Dependency Legal Group of San Diego
The Dependency Legal Group of San Diego (DLGSD) is a nonprofit public benefit corporation formed for the sole purpose of providing legal representation to indigent families who come before the juvenile dependency court in San Diego County. There are four divisions of DLGSD – the Primary Parent Office, which represents the primary or offending parent, the Conflict Parent Office, which represents the second or noncustodial parent, the Minor’s Counsel Office, which represents the child, and the Conflict Counsel Office, which represents additional parents and children, and accepts all conflict-of-interest appointments.
In each division of DLGSD, a supervising attorney and an assistant supervising attorney are responsible for managing their division and assisting their staff attorneys, investigators, and clerical employees. Each division has assigned, trained, and skilled investigators on staff. DLGSD investigators have education and/or experience in social work, child welfare, law enforcement, or paralegal skills.